Marrakech, Morocco: Sharmila Nicollet returned to the Ladies European Tour with a consistent display that saw her finish the five-round Lalla Aicha Tour School Final Stage in tied 17th place as top-30 and ties won their LET card for 2013.
Sharmila finished the week at nine-under and managed par or sub-par rounds in each of the five rounds. The Indian golfer finished her final round in even par 72, just as she had in the fourth round. Her scores in the five rounds were 68, 70, 69, 72, 72 for a total of nine-under 351. Another Indian Smriti Mehra, who missed the cut in the Final Stage, will get three starts as the top player on Hero Order of Merit for 2012.
Thailand's 17-year-old Ariya Jutanugarn secured her LET Ladies European Tour card in impressive style by winning the Lalla Aicha Tour School Final Stage by five shots from England's Emily Taylor and Australian Nikki Campbell. The 17-year-old who is still an amateur shot a three under par 69 in the fifth and final round to end on a total of 336, 24 under par.
Thailand's Ariya began the day three shots clear of the field and her lead was never threatened on a day when exactly 30 players earned their full playing rights for The 2013 Ladies European Tour.
The final day was full of drama with emotions running high at both ends of the leader board. There were scenes of jubilation early on as Maha Haddioui secured her tour card with a final round 67, becoming the first Moroccan golfer to qualify for LET.
However, several players were disappointed to have missed out on the top 30 including England's Charley Hull, who shot a final round 76 to end in a share of 36th on four under alongside Cheyenne Woods of the United States who had a final round 70. Also missing out was Kiran Matharu, who missed the cut
after the fourth round.
Sharmila was ecstatic about her qualification. She said, "I'm just overwhelmed right now with excitement. Last year, I qualified and this year being the only Indian, I'm quite upset that there are not many other Indians that qualified, I wanted a whole group to be in, but I'm super-happy that I managed to get in.
"I didn't play to my expectations today or yesterday but the good thing is I didn't shoot any over par rounds. That was a goal: to stay under par. I think I accomplished that: I kept my card and I'm all set to get to as many events as possible next year."
On her showing in 2012, she added,"I learned a lot last year and I know what not to do, what to do, and where to improve. I think my approach has made a few changes and it's showing."
more in Sports